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The SBI View: Klinsmann was right to drop Johnson from USMNT roster

Jurgen Klinsmann, Fabian Johnson

Jurgen Klinsmann values having players playing at the highest levels in Europe and competing in the UEFA Champions League, so it couldn’t have been an easy decision for him to dismiss Fabian Johnson from the U.S. Men’s National Team last week.

It may have been a tough decision, but it was the right one.

Klinsmann sent Johnson packing and back to Borussia Moenchengladbach early last week after the veteran fullback asked out of the U.S.’s CONCACAF Cup defeat the Saturday prior in extra time. Johnson exited that 3-2 loss vs. Mexico in the 111th minute after asking to be substituted, but exact details as to what happened remain a bit murky.

Here is what we do know: Klinsmann and U.S. Soccer said that Johnson had no injury, and Klinsmann sent the 27-year-old fullback home so he could “rethink” his approach to the team. Johnson’s club then stated immediately upon his return that he was being treated for an injury to his thigh. That injury didn’t stop Johnson starting this past weekend in German Bundesliga action,

Not only did Johnson start, he played the full 90 minutes on Saturday vs. Eintracht Frankfurt, all but confirming that he was not injured at the time of his substitution. At least not seriously enough to warrant coming out of a game as important as the CONCACAF Cup was.

That is why Klinsmann’s decision to boot Johnson from the squad was the correct one, especially since teammates were reportedly unhappy about Johnson’s unwillingness to fight until the very end.

Some might argue that Johnson was doing the right thing. That asking to come out of a game because he was fatigued or feeling a slight pull was selfless and a matter of putting the team before himself.

If this were basketball or the other football, sure, that might hold some weight. Soccer, however, has a limited amount of substitutions and Johnson surely was not the only one pushing through pain, discomfort, and exhaustion in the latter moments of that game. In fact, Michael Bradley missed Toronto FC’s 2-1 win vs. the New York Red Bulls last Wednesday because of a groin injury that he reportedly picked up in the loss to Mexico.

Why then would Moenchengladbach and interim manager Andre Schubert say he had an injury? As Klinsmann pointed out, it was a move the club made to stick by and publicly defend its player. Some fans may suggest that Johnson had enough time to receive treatment and recover over the course of the week to get back to full health, but that would indicate that Johnson’s knock was not all that serious to begin with.

Schubert even more or less admitted that Johnson was not too badly hurt when speaking to the press last week.

“When a player feels a tightening of their thigh in added time in a game and could then be on the verge of a more serious injury, I only think it’s the responsibility of the team and himself to have him subbed off,” Schubert said on Thursday.

So if Johnson was not dealing with a serious injury, how then can he or anyone else rationalize his decision to come off vs. Mexico? Sure, he might have gotten more badly hurt had he played through those final nine minutes, but he also might not have.

Johnson’s actions, which have ignited much debate in the media and among fans, now raise the question of whether he is fully committed to the U.S. or if he is more or less a mercenary who is only representing the Americans in order to further his career by playing international soccer.

If he isn’t all that invested in the U.S. team, and more worried about being available to play for UEFA Champions League participant Borussia Moenchenglabdach, that is Johnson’s right, but should Klinsmann and the U.S. really consider him for future call-ups then? Yes, Johnson is undoubtedly one of the most talented and versatile players in the U.S. pool, but his inclusion should not come at the expense of dedication. That is not what playing for your country is about.

Klinsmann has left the door open for Johnson to return, but whether he does remains to be seen. Losing one of your best players is, of course, not ideal, but Klinsmann made a good decision by dismissing Johnson for his half-hearted approach.

132 comments
    • SBI Mafia Original

      I honestly don’t know if there is enough info to say he was right.
      But making it public was wrong.
      Smells like he was trying to deflect the glare aware from his selections and the team’s performance.

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      • Nate Dollars

        exactly, that was the real issue. i’m sure every professional player has been chewed out–deservedly or not–by their manager at some point, and likely in front of their teammates. it’s entirely different to get called out in a press conference after a demoralizing loss. it smacks of desperation or a shortage of ideas on the part of the manager (see mourinho at chelsea this season).

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    • keithbabs79

      If we went to PKs and won, this would be a non-issue. But since JK lost in such a fashion immediately after his substitution, he is easily deflecting blame in the public eye. I doubt JK went as far blasting his son when he disrespected LD on social media. Past history points to FJ being more than committed with his citizenship and playing out of position.

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  • mouf

    I bet Klinsmann punishes him by playing him out of position on the opposite side of the field…..

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    • Acidburn

      JK: “Fabian, welcome back, question…what outfield position have you never played?”
      FJ: “Centerback”.
      JK: “Good, you’re starting there against SV&G.”

      Like

    • bryan

      out of position is relative. according to FJ, himself, his best position is RM. and he has always said he likes playing on the right more than the left. so in that, you could argue ‘Gladbach are playing him out of position.

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      • LouisZ

        I was not aware he prefers the right side, I thought he liked the LM position the best. Just about all of his club coaches had him on the left. Verti was the one that put the bug in JK’s hear to play him as a RB.

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      • bryan

        yup, although it was RB is what he told Bild he preferred:

        “My favourite position is at right-back. I played there before my transfer.”

        http://www.sbisoccer.com/2015/01/moenchengladbach-determine-contradiction.html

        of course, at the time of that article, the coach, Farve, disagreed with FJ and said FJ eventually told him LM. ESPNFC also has an article on this that i can’t link to.

        in an interview with the Guardian, he said he simply likes the consistency of playing LM (can Google it, May 2015).

        and lets not forget in 2011 when he said to ESPN:

        “‘I didn’t expect to get in on the wing, so it was a little bit new for me,’ Johnson said, adding that he’d rather play inside than on the wing.”

        long story short, the guy seems to want to play the same position consistently. that is what is most important to him.

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      • bryan

        also, everyone should Google the Guardian article given the questioning of his loyalty. the title:

        USMNT’s Fabian Johnson interview: ‘I always felt American, I just grew up in Germany’

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      • Jon

        ..and Berti Vogts thinks/thought (in a piece for ESPN FC, I think) that FJ’s best position is RB. RB/LB RM/LM really not all that different in terms of assignments and cover if you do it right.

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    • GW

      mouf,

      So he punishes Fabian by playing him at leftback instead of right back?

      Or right midfield instead of left midfield?

      Fabian must be quaking in his boots.

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    • Gary Page

      You haven’t been paying attention. A few days ago many posters here decided he should now be our #10.

      Like

    • onlyagame

      and thats all were going to get. welcome to the world of sports, news, & the world wide web!

      Like

      • keithbabs79

        To show FJ’s loyalty, he hasn’t publicly come forward and made a circus of this event. Hmm, but someone else sure did.

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    • Gary Page

      You are correct. Now imagine you are a manager with an important project that you need to get done or your job is at risk. You tell your employees what to do and what you expect of them. Then, one of them quits on you before the job is finished. Now you are in big trouble with your boss. Wouldn’t you be really p.o.’ed at that employee? That is what happened and Klinsmann probably lost his temper.

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      • UclaBruinGreat

        Your hypothetical scenario doesn’t match with Klinsmann’s reality.

        “Now you are in big trouble with your boss.” – Klinsmann was never going to be in trouble with his boss, as publicly announced by Gulati. You are one of the main ones on this site that says Klinsmann will be coach no matter what until 2018 world cup, and unfortunately I think you and the others are probably correct. In reality, Klinsmann is the boss.

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      • Gary Page

        Okay, let’s say you have been elected to your position and you still have 3 years on your term, after which you will retire, but your failure makes you look bad to the public. Wouldn’t you be p.o.’ed at that employee?

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      • dalomismo

        I posted the day it happened that if FJ were indeed not injured, JK had reason to call him into question. I also stated I thought it should have remained a private matter settled within the team.

        With the hazy info at hand- I’d have liked to have seen him gut it out but… to place the loss on FJ is absurd and even more so the pressure JK is under or his “looking bad.” The team has had a lengthy run of mediocrity to downright listless and sloppy play and bad results in “the most important games of the year”per Klinsman. This very public distraction is doing little to rectify the situation- likely adding to the disheveled state of the team.

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      • keithbabs79

        To answer the question honestly, I would be p.o.’ed at myself. This new generation is so happy to point the fingers at others. I’m responsible for the actions of my employees: Good and bad.

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  • AMPhibian

    Most people were primarily upset that JK would make this the story after the Mexico loss. Dropping Johnson was right, but taking it to the media wasn’t. They would’ve put two and two together anyway.

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    • Bryan

      I doubt the American soccer media would have figured anything out. I know JK has thrown guys under the bus before but it seems like Fabian clearly earned it and I’m pretty confident that if we all had a look behind closed doors after the game and the next day we would understand exactly where our (admittedly awful) coach was coming from.

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    • Anthony

      “Most people were primarily upset that JK would make this the story after the Mexico loss.”

      …or people see what they want to see…

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      • UclaBruinGreat

        Yes and in this case you are seeing what you want to see Anthony.

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    • Jon

      I think this might be a Europe/US cultural difference in soccer. This stuff is aired out all of the time in the press. IMO

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      • Joamiq

        You have no way of actually knowing that. If a coach successfully handles an issue in house, you won’t find out about it.

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  • Bac

    Whether he needed to come out or not we truly don’t have 100% proof either way.
    What Fabian should have done was go down. Get treatment. Buy some time. Give the meds a minute to assess him. We were playing for the penalties anyways. Break up any momentum Mexico had.
    What JK should have done, was TOLD him to go down if he didn’t do it on his own. He was right there on that side.
    Players do it all the time.
    What JK shouldn’t have done was make it so public. Fabian has never been a problem, seems to get along well with everyone. I’ve never thought of him as a mercenary. If it’s true other guys were pissed at him, make sure they know, but making it public just made it worse.

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    • GW

      Bac,

      JK should not have gone public with this?

      First of all players like Fabian are under enormous pressure from their clubs who would rather they not play for their countries. The clubs have to release them but would rather not especially because of the injury risk.

      So that is Fabian’s side of it.

      As for JK’s side of it, the very next USMNT games are very important WC qualifiers:

      November 13 vs St. Vincent & The Grenadines
      November 17 vs Trinidad & Tobago

      Would Fabian and the USMNT have sorted all this out by then? I don’t know.

      But if they did not then what are you going to tell the media about not calling Fabian, maybe the US’ best player , in?

      It seems to me this would have all gotten out anyway and been an even bigger distraction for the cover up.

      This way the focus will be mostly on the games by that time.

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      • Bac

        Well whatever.. it is what it is at this point.
        I hope they get it straightened out and we see him back sooner rather than later

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      • UclaBruinGreat

        GW, I completely disagree with you when you say,

        “But if they did not then what are you going to tell the media about not calling Fabian, maybe the US’ best player , in? It seems to me this would have all gotten out anyway and been an even bigger distraction for the cover up.”

        Klinsmann would simply be asked why he didn’t call in Johnson, he’d give some bs answer/explanation like he did with the Donovan situation (players ahead of him/he’s not fully fit), and that would be that. Of course the fans and press wouldn’t buy it, but since when does Klinsmann care? Right now he created a situation where it is double the commotion. Commotion right now by blasting him in the press, and commotion each time he has to pick a roster that Johnson is not a part of.

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      • GW

        UCLABG,

        Of course you disagree. It’s what you do.

        All that commotion is happening right now.
        By the time the qualifiers roll around it will be old news.

        And if JK and Fabian come to some agreement in the interim about Fabian’s new found “approach to the team” then all the better.

        After all time wounds all heels

        If not then at least they can just go ahead and start working on life post Fabian.

        You seem to be suggesting that the unhappiness of the other players doesn’t factor into this. There seems to be some suggestion from the article that maybe their feelings were more of a consideration than JK’s.

        How would you have handled it?

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      • Gary Page

        Whatever the situation, UCLABG would say that he would have handled it differently than Klinsmann did. Democrats joke that people who do things like oppose Obama even when he adopts their policies have Obama Derangement Syndrome. UCLABG and others here have Klinsmann Derangement Syndrome. They don’t think, they just react and oppose.

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      • Jesse D

        which makes you wonder how the virus started, who was patient zero. We all know when the American soccer public turned on Klinnsman. He has continue to struggle to handle situations in the media well ever since his first PR screw up. We perceive that to also affect the locker room, but other than the Boca story we have no true idea. JK needs to take some PR classes fast.

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      • Bac

        You do realize that he brought Boca into January’s camp as part of the coaching staff. Seems odd that if there was an issue from either of them, either he doesn’t get asked to join, or he declines the invite.
        Or do we just consistently have selective memory that fits a narrative to justify our opinions.

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      • Jesse D

        okay, then you decide who the source for that story was. Let it fit your narrative. Unless you believe sporting news was lying, there was a source. Does that narrative work for you?

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      • Bac

        I don’t have a narrative. I have no idea. I find it odd that if JK-who apparently holds so many petty grudges- would invite Boca to be part of his staff. And if Boca felt animosity, that he would accept.

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      • UclaBruinGreat

        Gary, you do realize that what you just said about me, everyone says about you right?

        Your lips seem to be permanently attached to Klinsy’s arse.

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      • Nate Dollars

        you really couldn’t have summed up the regression of the past year(s) any better.

        under normal circumstances, do you really think anyone would care if fabian wasn’t called up against the almighty st vincent and t&t? of course not; we should be able to beat those teams without our top 5 players.

        but apparently, these have become games where we can’t give anyone a rest–where the absence of a player becomes a major talking point and a distraction.

        if the team was where it should be after years of klinsmann, he could’ve dropped fabian for these games without any fanfare or public comment of any kind. it wouldn’t have been a “distraction”, because we wouldn’t have been even slightly worried about not having fabian for these games.

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    • SuperChivo

      No one will ever know but Fabian. Jurgen is speculating and we are speculating on what evidence Jurgen may have to speculate on. Does the guy have a history of doing this? Does Jurgen have something to base his opinion on? Did Fabian feel he might hurt his team more than he could help by staying in? This is a disappointing editorial. Sometimes the best opinion is to admit that you don’t have enough evidence on which to base an opinion.

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    • USAmr

      If Klinsmann had used our 3rd sub when we needed to attack and score a goal to actually stay in the game, instead of saving it to swap a goal keeper IF we made it to penalties, this conversation would not even have been possible. Johnson would have had to go to ground, be assessed by the meds and either keep playing, or sit on the sideline.

      I see this as 100% poor game management from Klinsmann, and then aggravating the situation (some would say shifting the blame) by taking it to the media.

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  • MFP

    I don’t think I’ve ever had this opinion about an SBI article, but this is the best bit of journalism we’ve had on this topic yet. I don’t really mean that as a back-handed compliment, but SBI articles tend to summarize other stories more than add much.

    Everything else I’ve seen about Johnson’s dismissal has been journos musing about whether JK is the worst for making the dismissal public, or the super-worst for deflecting blame for the loss from him to Johnson.

    But the actual story should be, holy crap, is Fabian Johnson – absolutely crucial piece of the USMNT who’s playing at the highest level of anyone in our pool – dogging it when he plays for the US… so much as to to piss off his teammates enough to complain anonymously, and then his coach to make it public. Because if so, that is team poison and is a way bigger issue than anything the coach did here, and absolutely needed to be addressed. And if he is and do so publicly makes the rest of the team feel like JK has their backs, then so be it. What I’d really like to see more on is what the rest of the team thinks.

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      • MFP

        Yeah, I doubt we will too. And agree, probably for the best if we don’t.

        But if those things are true (an unknown), then the coach who’s constantly criticized for never accepting blame for anything purposefully put himself in the fire for tons of public criticism in order to help vent his teams frustration in a way that might get through. An that’d be pretty admirable. Again, if the team agrees and thought it had to be done… which we probably will never know.

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    • Joamiq

      I’d suggest following other sources, including those who actually broke the reports that Johnson’s teammates have been questioning his commitment. They discussed this angle well before SBI picked it up. SBI is mostly just news aggregation these days.

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    • danny

      Overrated? Compared to who? What U.S. field player is a better all around? Sure- he probably isn’t the best defensive player, but his attacking ability, all-around skill, speed, and athleticism are a combination that no other player possesses. The only other one’s you can argue for are Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones, but Jones is way past his prime and Bradley seems to have regressed a bit. Fabian is entering what should be the peak of his career and the U.S. is VERY lucky to have him in the pool.

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  • Mike Z

    What happened to the SBI Opinion piece before the Mexico game that stated that Klinsmann should be fired if the US lose the match? After losing to Mexico, Klinsmann once again refused to take any of the blame for the loss. Instead he turned on Fabian Johnson and made him the scapegoat. I can’t recall a single time that Klinsmann has taken any blame for a loss. He constantly blames the players for poor play or not being in shape. Blames Americans for not understanding the game. Surely tactics and player selection has played a part in the recent losses to Mexico, Panama, and Jamaica?

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      • Mike Z

        No question the players deserve most of the blame for the simple fact that are the ones on the field. I just don’t get why Klinsmann isn’t willing to accept blame when his tactics at times have been quite poor. I think it shows poor leadership and more importantly lack of willingness to learn from past mistakes. I think you can look to Bruce Arena as a great example of a coach who will quickly takes responsibility when he doesn’t put his players in a position to win.

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      • out with old

        I could care less if JK takes responsibility for it or not, they are not better than Mexico right now. I am a huge usmnt fan but I am also a realist. Should drop the old guys and bring the young ones along so they will be ready for 2018.

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      • GW

        JK is stylistically essentially a European manager. Ironically when he managed Germany and Bayern he got a lot of flak for being too “Californian”. He probably has elements of both but is still at heart European in style.

        Bruce is an American style manager.

        One is not necessarily better than the other just different in style and approach..

        But wait, you say these are American players not Europeans so shouldn’t the manager have an American approach?

        Well maybe but Fabian and Bedoya, the two players most recently embroiled in controversy play for European managers and have done so for most to their careers. And so have Clint, Jozy, Mikey, Timmy, Guzan, Cameron, Ream, Spector , etc.. In fact many if not most of the guys in the player pool have had European style coaching at sme point in their careers.

        Zardes pretty much a complete Arena product has done very well for JK who has consistently praised Bruce’s work on Zardes.

        The reality of the playoff game was:

        It was a very close game between two stylistically very different teams that went 118 minutes and probably would have gone to penalties if not for a completely unbelievable goal. It was that close.

        This was probably the last gasp for the majority of the US players.

        The loss wasn’t JK’s fault. It wasn’t anyone’s fault. The better team won.

        Why you are so obsessed with a search for the guilty and the punishment of the innocent?

        Would getting a pound of flesh really make anything better?

        JK’s issue with FJ was about his attitude not winning or losing the game.

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    • MFP

      As far as I’ve seen, the players have taken basically none of the blame in the press for the loss to Mexico. Which is weird, because they’ve lost a handful of other recent important games and are the ones playing them. Guess who has taken pretty much all of the criticism on his shoulders with his typical, casual, “I’m ok with that; it means the sport is growing” response. It’s that guy who “never accepts any blame.”

      I guess people literally want him to say, “You’re right, I suck as a coach.” He hasn’t done that, but has managed to deflect everything from his players, and that’s what he’s supposed to do.

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    • GW

      Mike Z.

      When LD was cut from the World Cup team I read interviews given by Howard and Mikey where they spoke about their surprise at LD being left of the WC team.

      Many people cite this as evidence that the team was upset with that and that JK “lost the team” over that decision .If he did then they played pretty well for a demoralized team.

      And what exactly did you expect Timmy and Mikey to say?

      LD remains a powerful figure in the “US soccer world” and there is no profit in getting on his wrong side.

      More to the point, what did the other 21 guys who went to Brazil have to say about it? Or don’t they count?

      Maybe they thought ” Wow, maybe the boss has confidence in us if he is going to take such a drastic step.”?

      Or is that not even possible?

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      • Jesse D

        Argue all you want about the merits. Both sides have their vantage point. What can’t be argued is that he divided American fans and made what should be compatriots into enemies. JK divided us. It will take a change in leadership to reunite us. It’s an unfortunate reality. Whatever the merits of the decision it couldn’t have been worth that. Which means he got it wrong.

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      • GW

        “What can’t be argued is that he divided American fans and made what should be compatriots into enemies.”

        You got numbers on that?

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      • Jesse D

        seriously, if you don’t think that has been controversial and divisive then you are living with blinders on.

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    • Gary Page

      The articles I read had quotes from Klinsmann after the game praising his players for their effort and for “leaving it all on the field.” He never blamed the players for the loss. He said basically that the loss was due to a wonder goal by Aguilar, not any real difference in the teams. The Johnson story came out almost two days later when the team was already in New Jersey getting ready for CR that night. Klinsmann never blamed Johnson for the loss but said he was saving a substitution for the penalty kicks since Rimando was the best at saving pk’s. Obviously that issue became moot. Klinsmann’s criticism of Johnson was for his attitude. The implication was that FJ put himself ahead of the team. The facts I know are inconsistent with what you are saying here.

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      • Mike Z

        Klinsmann’s comments that there are no problems and everything is great after the US is thoroughly outplayed by Mexico on home soil and after his team was knocked out of the Gold Cup prior to the finals for the first time ever by a CONCACAF team, shows a concerning level of hubris and disconnectedness.

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      • AMPhibian

        +1 Agreed.
        Most people I’ve met don’t want to hear excuses from their leaders, even when they’re valid ones. And I don’t think that we failed to play to our normal level at the Gold Cup because the refs had it in for us.

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      • Gary Page

        That is not what he said. Go back and read it. I am pretty sure that he talked exclusively about the players’ effort and praised it. He said the difference was the goal by Aguilar, an indisputable fact, and it was a wonderful goal a pretty indisputable opinion, as it was taken on the half volley from just outside the box, from a tough angle. (BTW, people tend to overlook the fact that the ball Aguilar hit had gone almost straight up in the air and could have gone anywhere. Mexico was lucky that it fell right at his feet or the game surely would have gone to pk’s). I saw no quotes where Klinsmann said anything about the ability of the two teams, how well the US played, or the tactics or strategy of the game. I don’t have a problem with Klinsmann or anyone else being criticized, but that criticism should be based on facts.

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  • Beto

    Not interested in this debate. Jürgen was wrong to make this club vs country, media shaming fiasco but he was right to send him back with stern words.

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  • Adam M.

    I don’t know why he wanted out and neither does Franco. Its one thing to suggest that FJ may have been overly sensitive the possibility of injury, but its quite a leap from that to suggest that he was dogging it and isn’t fully committed to the US. Nothing FJ has done up until now has suggested that. He has easily and consistently been one of the best performers for the side until now. The real unanswered question is why JK publicly called out his commitment in the 100+ minute of a tough heated battle, which, incidentally, is hardly when a player wanting to dog it might start acting that way. My sense is either than JK badly overreacted to FJ being cautious, or there is more to the story that we don’t know about. Absent those facts, though, its really hard to judge this situation.

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    • Gary Page

      I did not record this game, so I can’t check the allegation. However, another poster here implied that he did record it and on two different occasions he has charged that on Mexico’s second goal Johnson did dog it and jogged slowly, failing to cover for a beaten teammate. According to that poster that may have been decisive in allowing the second Mexico goal.

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      • BB

        If jogging slowly is grounds for accusing someone of dogging it now, then there are plenty of other players who were “dogging it” during extra time. Beckerman didn’t exactly sprint to close down Aguilar on the last goal, for example.

        Besides, blaming Johnson for the 2nd goal ignores Jones and Beasley getting beat on the pass over the top and Cameron losing his marker beforehand. I can’t see it as anything but someone massaging the facts to fit their preferred narrative.

        Not blaming you specifically, btw, you made it clear it was a different poster. The goals are on the us soccer website if you want to check: http://www.ussoccer.com/stories/2015/10/13/12/29/151010-mnt-v-mexico-concacaf-cup-highlights

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      • Gary Page

        Just reporting. When I read this I responded with words like, “Interesting if true.”

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      • Joamiq

        I recorded the game and have watched it almost three times now. I don’t think Johnson was dogging it – I think he was just poor in tracking runners, which has always been a defensive problem for him.

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  • wood chip zip

    Who knows who cares. Does JK think it’s progress to have all these tabloid soccer soap operas in the press? I don’t. I want progress in results, team unity and over all awesome never say die USA attitude. I became a US soccer junkie because it was devoid of all the soap operas and prima donnas (sorry you Donovan haters but he never was a prima donna; he’s was just missing some edge to him and that resulted in the Landycakes nick name which he then disproved via ’09 and ’10) common in big time sports

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    • GW

      I first heard the Landy Cakes nickname was attached to Landon by some guy named NIck on a Sirius satellite radio show called I believe Soccer World or Soccer talk. We’re talking early 2000’s here and at the time it was one of the few media outlets where you could get any kind of regular soccer coverage. Regular guests were guys like Charlie Stillitano and Giorgio Chinaglia, who alway used to say that the permit rules were the only reason there weren’t more Americans in the UK leagues. .

      It was not a term of endearment but rather represented the view by a fair number of people that LD was soft for not carrying the flag into Europe.

      Now that he has retired and been canonized, people seem to forget that for a large part of his career he was heavily criticized by many people in the American soccer world for staying in SoCal..

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      • Gary Page

        I think the guy on Sirius was the same guy who had a talk show for a while on Fox Soccer. LD was not criticized so much for staying in So. California as he was criticized for not sticking it out in Europe (a significant difference). Many looked at him as a quitter when things got tough. Personally, after his first loan spell at Everton I really thought he should have stayed there. He could have got a big salary, played in a tougher environment, done well, and become a better player. Instead he opted for a big long term salary from the Galaxy. The original criticism, I think, referred more to his failures in Germany.

        Like

      • Concorde

        I sympathize with Landon. Easily had the talent but was in over his head mentally, in Germany. Careers are short and he had to go to a place where he felt alright and could play his best. It was never clearer than in Bayer Leverkusen’s CL match vs. Liverpool, in 2005 I think. Crucial pressure match. He started in the center of the field facing Gerrard and co… completely outmatched, I remember just feeling bad for him. Subbed at 50-some minutes. Something was going on in this kid’s head, I thought.

        Like

  • Kung Fu Kangaroos

    If JK subbed Jozy out and Wood in during regulation, we wouldn’t be in this quagmire.

    Like

  • Andy

    Wow, I didn’t know Franco had a medical degree on the side to go along with his soccer blog work. Impressive.

    Despite the attempts to do otherwise, there are enough nuggets of truth in the article to get the real story. Fabian felt a tightness in this thigh, the type of tightness that could turn into a long term injury if he’d have kept playing. So he did what any reasonable professional would do and asked to be subbed out, before it turned into a real injury. Back home, his club doctors treated the injury, allowing him to play 90 minutes a full week after he came out of the USA game.

    JKs reaction was childish and reminiscent of how Jose Mourinho handled the shambolic start to the Chelsea season – he created artificial drama after artificial drama to distract from the fact that his team wasn’t performing under his stewardship. This was JKs attempt to distract from the fact that his tactics and approach have failed of late.

    Like

    • GW

      “This was JKs attempt to distract from the fact that his tactics and approach have failed of late”

      Why would he bother? He has no incentive to do that.

      He’s not getting fired and he knows it. Everyone knows it .

      Fabian is arguably his best player so he’s just dog housed one guy who could really help him get the team out of this funk. If he really wanted to take the heat off the only real way to do that is win the two WC qualifiers next month convincingly. His chances of doing that would be better with Fabian than without him.

      So your rationale makes no sense at all.

      JK doesn’t care about the negative press. He got far worse in Germany in 2006.. .

      The article does mention that the players were upset with Fabian and that has much more of JK’s attention than anything the press would do. So this is about Fabian and the rest of the team and JK’s relationship to both.

      Like

      • Nate Dollars

        “Why would he bother? He has no incentive to do that. ”

        because ego, that’s why. part of klinsmann’s draw is that he knows so much more than the ignorant americans. if he accepts the blame from these same americans, what does that say about his superiority?

        “JK doesn’t care about the negative press. He got far worse in Germany in 2006.”

        i don’t know why people (actually it may just be you, repeatedly) keep saying this. it’s asinine; it’s like saying someone who’s broken their leg before doesn’t mind getting punched in the face.

        Like

      • GW

        Nate Dollars,

        “if he accepts the blame from these same americans, what does that say about his superiority?”

        Well now that’s an interesting take.

        I have little problem acknowledging that the manager of the USMNT, JK, and BB and Bruce before him, all are superior to me when it comes to matters of this nature. After all the manager is there and I’m not.

        As for the second point, JK is more secure here than he ever was with Germany so the punch in the face is no big deal and is certainly no reason to get rid of your best player. Even the broken leg is not a good enough reason to do that.

        JK likes to win. If he is dumping FJ he’ll need more than your punch in the face and the harm to his “ego” to endanger his chances to win.

        Like

      • Nate Dollars

        “I have little problem acknowledging that the manager of the USMNT, JK, and BB and Bruce before him, all are superior to me when it comes to matters of this nature. After all the manager is there and I’m not.”

        i’m obviously referring to klinsmann’s (supposed) superiority over other american managers/soccer experts (hence his comparatively astronomical salary), not your average internet commenter.

        and i think klinsmann is confident enough in our beating st vincent without fabian. if he can deflect criticism *and* win, hey, why not do it?

        Like

      • GW

        Nate Dollars,

        “i’m obviously referring to klinsmann’s (supposed) superiority over other american managers/soccer experts (hence his comparatively astronomical salary), not your average internet commenter.”

        You think it’s that obvious?

        Care to show me where Klinsmann
        ever claimed to be superior to any US manager, specifically Bob or Bruce? He has always been very complimentary of those two especailly Bruce with whom he seems to have a lot of interaction ( see Zardes, Gyasi).

        All I’v ever heard JK say is that the “pyramid ” in US soccer is messed up and that MLS’ schedule is f++ked up specifically in how it affects the USMNT players , something that many others have said.

        As for the “soccer experts” I presume you mean the US soccer media. Aren’t we on SBI where all I ever hear about the US soccer media is that they are a bunch of wussies? And that the vast majority of our American soccer pundits are nimrods?

        “and i think klinsmann is confident enough in our beating st vincent without fabian. if he can deflect criticism *and* win, hey, why not do it?”

        Wait, I thought everyone was afeared that the US couldn’t get through WC qualifying?

        That the USMNT was in such a perilous state that even SVAG was not to be taken
        lightly?

        It’s clear to me that JK doesn’t give a rat’s a++ about the criticism.

        However, if he did you don’t deflect criticism by creating more controversy. I give JK enough credit that I’m sure he realizes that it doesn’t matter what he does, he is always wrong to people like you. In his case, the more under the radar, the less criticism.

        So the only answer for any question regarding JK’s well being is to win and win convincingly.

        And obviously, dog housing Fabian hurts that objective.

        What ever really happened, and I don’t know what Fabian really did, JK’s repsonse to it was crafted for the other players not you or SBI or American managers and soccer experts.

        Fabian will be brought up ad naseum when Nov, 15 rolls around but it will less radioactive at that point and besides, maybe Fabian “adjusts his approach” to the team and and wins everyone back.

        Stranger s++t has happened.

        Like

      • Nate Dollars

        man, that was a long-winded way to say “in klinsmann we trust”.

        Like

      • GW

        Nate Dollars,

        Hey you read it didn’t you?

        You bring up the points I just answer you.

        And it’s not about “trusting” JK, I’ve never met the man.
        I did exactly the same thing with BB.

        People like you would say BB or JK would do something that made no logical sense and then attach some illogical explanation for it. Like playing their kid because he was their son.

        I merely point out that your illogical explanations for those actions makes no sense.

        Like

    • Nate Dollars

      yeah, i’m actually surprised that someone who’s covered the sport for years still apparently doesn’t have a grasp of how injuries work. unless it’s an impact injury, your body usually gives you some warning that “something bad” is about to happen. the responsible athlete recognizes the warning signs and stops before the injury happens.

      from there, it’s absolutely understandable that fabian would be receiving treatment for the “pre-injury” condition when he got back to munich while also giving him enough time to recover for the game a week later. not only is it understandable, it happens all the time.

      when klinsmann first made his comments about how the truth would come out if fabian plays this weekend, i laughed and facetiously said his statement was directed at all the ignorant americans who didn’t know anything about soccer (or any kind of athletic activity, for that matter). kind of disappointing how many people are falling for it.

      Like

  • Ian

    “That is not what playing for your country is about.”
    that’s the problem, this isn’t his country, as much as people who defend and love dual nationals keep repeating that they are as american as anyone else (they are by law no doubt and deserve the same rights as everyone) they don’t have the same sense of “patriotism” or “love for the shirt” he IS playing for another country, his intention was to get to a World Cup and maybe even attract some views to get a better deal at club level and that’s the intention of EVERY dual national who doesn’t play for his home country, hell sometimes even players born in this coountry would rather play for other national team (Rossi, Subotic, even Omar Gonzalez said he would have played for Mexico if they had called him first).

    Like

    • Gary Page

      I served in the military for almost 4 years, back when there was a draft. I saw a lot of guys who I doubted were very patriotic. A lot just wanted to get drunk and laid. Since then I have seen many, many native born Americans who don’t really give a sh*t about their country, only care about themselves. You need to be careful about making sweeping generalizations like this.

      Like

  • Paul

    The thing I don’t get is how out of character this all seems. The guy, on top of being one of our best if not our best field player, has 40 caps. Did he ever give anyone reason to question his commitment before? He may have – I don’t know. But it sure wasn’t public.

    He was coming back off an injury and played 109 minutes in a pretty different climate from that in which his club team most often competes. There are more likely explanations here than Johnson quitting on the U.S., as is suggested by this article.

    Like

    • GW

      Yeah?

      How well do you really know Fabian’s character?

      I’m not saying he is a bad guy or even that he did anything wrong in this case. I don’t really know what happened.

      But how many times do we read about celebrities and athletes and other famous people who do things that completely shock and surprise us?

      Jared Fogle, Mr Big Boy Subway pants suddenly is found to have used his celebrity as as a cover for preying on children.

      Did that surprise you?

      All I’m saying is that you and I know nothing about Fabian.not really.

      Like

      • Gary Page

        Who expected Robin Williams to kill himself? I’m still in shock over that one. Sometimes you/we just don’t know what all is going on. In the meantime, speculation keeps the internet humming.

        Like

      • dalomismo

        And sometimes good, solid people have a bad moment. Who hasn’t done something uncharacteristic? Seems we love the extreme, to paint everyone as devils and saints when pretty much everyone is somewhere in between. Media also loves to set em’ up and then knock them down. Human nature is more…. complex. The best leaders know how to admonish when needed, but also utilize such things as opportunity to improve- teaching moments.

        Like

  • Blokhin

    Maybe JK should not have played for Gemany and instead managed the US in France 98 instead of Sampson.

    “Coach why did you send home your team captain?”
    “Because when your captain sleeps with your starting forward’s wife, and I am talking about Eric, Eric Wynalda, of course, that is a real problem”

    US goes on to lose three games, no one blames the coach as early internet goes berserk

    Like

    • Gary Page

      Look at the John Terry situation in the UK. That became public and public fodder. The world has changed since 98 thanks to 24 hour news, the internet, and social media.

      Like

  • killing brain cells

    i think this is probably the stupidest conversation that i have seen here at sbi for maybe the last 6 months? brain cell killling, mind numbing dumbness.

    however, as einstein once said, “we only use 10% of our brains.” therefore, i happily kill some of the unneccesary brain material in my head and i jump right in.

    =====================================
    my two cents:
    i have read all of the 68 replies, above. i share my humble opinion:

    i agree with andy (please don’t be andy in atlanta):
    http://www.sbisoccer.com/2015/10/klinsmann-johnson-roster.html#comment-1597913
    and those who shared a similar opinion.

    look, this player has 40 caps for usmnt??? and his regular club gig is gladbach??? (one of the best club teams in the world, yes?) question his DEDICATION? come on!!! i’m pretty sure that a player doesn’t BS coaches into “giving” him 40 usmnt caps and BS the gladbach coaches into giving him minutes if he isn’t “dedicated”. what an absurb, ridiculous notion. this young man probably has the heart of a lion, or he wouldn’t have achieved so much in the soccer world. yes?

    andy (please don’t be andy in atlanta) expresses my thoughts most closely.
    we don’t know. probably, most likely, after a REALLY intense 110 minutes, he felt his leg cramping up and he knew he was going to be useless. like a peg-legged pirate walking around on the soccer field. he isn’t stupid. and he isn’t disloyal, DUH. he’s smart enough to signal his manager and inform him of his situation.

    imagine if he had NOT signaled his manager, and the other team had scored b/c of it? if i were the manager, i’d rip him a new a$$ (PRIVATELY): “WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME you were having leg cramps? then i could have subbed you.” see?

    just my 2 cents, what do i know? cheers!

    Like

    • killing brain cells

      so i take the view opposite of the sbi view on this one.
      it appears to me that klinnsman just burned a bridge with a valuable player that we need.
      and most likely to cover his own poor performance as manager (scapegoat this player)
      klinnsman is unprofessional and wrong to publicly criticize a player. that’s for the locker room. (sorry, gw)

      bob bradley always used to talk about the “inside” and the “outside”. the “inside” i think meant the locker room. the “outside” i think meant the media. bob bradley would not PUBLICLY criticize a player, yes?

      Like

    • Gary Page

      At the beginning of this I said that only FJ knows for sure. I think you need to consider some other points I have brought up. Why the time lag between FJ coming out of the game and being sent home? What did the trainers on the team tell Klinsmann? You and others say Klinsmann scapegoated Johnson. I have not read one quote where he blamed the loss on any US player. What he did say was that Johnson needs to re-evaluate his attitude. These are not the same things. Can you provide me with a quote where he blamed the loss on Johnson or any other US player? I haven’t seen any. I have agreed with others that Klinsmann should not have made this public, but if he felt betrayed, it was a perfectly common and human reaction. It is very possible that Klinsmann is wrong in his judgment about Johnson, but what motive would he have for alienating one of his best players right before qualifying? I can’t believe he would do this without what he thought was a good reason; otherwise it makes no sense. So, given the circumstances and what we know, to speculate, as some have, that Klinsmann did this knowing it was an untrue charge is illogical.

      Like

      • killing brain cells

        gary page,

        jk didn’t scapegoat and publicly criticize fj??? i thought that was a fact, isn’t that what everyone is talking about???

        Like

    • $Bill

      I think Johnson is committed …. to his club. He’s afine player. Te best of the Hessians that Klinsy brought forward. In the end, it’s not his country he’s defending. Hate to define American as being born & (predominantly) raised here, but that’s the case. Put that kid on the field and he’ll kill himself to the bitter end. Don’t expect hired guns to do that, unless it benefits their careers. Just sayin …

      Like

  • Geoff S.

    Perhaps this is symptom of going after skilled players in Europe with any sort of American connection. Sure, the skill and physical ability may be there, but if the mentality is not, then its not worth it! Sending FJ home seems like the right move from a coach who I think makes lots of bonehead decisions!

    Like

  • jb

    The last time the team looked good was the friendly wins over Germany and Holland. I propose the US trots out the same starting lineup as one of those games for the opening WCQ.

    Like

  • Truth

    Ives has to be the greatest multi-tasker in history. How anyone types up a story with JK’s weiner in their mouth is beyond me……. Well done sir well done….

    Like

  • Dan

    Yes good. Now Klinsmann needs to drop lazy/Jozy Altidore, once and for all. He is a lousy inconsistent striker. USMNT is wasting their time with him!

    Like

  • TA

    FJ deserved the shaming he got from JK. While playing internationally you are expected to play at your highest level. Not sub yourself during a Rivalry, Cup Match so you don’t get to tired to play for your home club. It was Selfish. Yes he’s one of our strongest players and is very talented but showed no commitment at the international level. FJ is a mercenary looking to further his own career. Talented, im glad tye door is open for him to return, but selfish.
    On another note, calling for JKs job makes any USMNT supporter look like a fair-weather fan. This man is ushering in a new era of US soccer by changing the way we do things and developing better players. This takes time, but sooner or later we will be on par with the rest of the world’s soccer superpowers.

    Like

  • $Bill

    Why be shocked? This is what happens when you hire Hessians to fight your battles at the national team level. We can certainly blame Klinsy for that; bringing in Germans to represent the USA. I’m sorry, but I’ve had enough of the constant trolling for Germans (why no Brits? No Brazilians? Others??) to fill out our team. Hard to root for them when German is spoken everywhere (and my ancestors were German!). Let’s use predominantly American born & raised players – win, lose or draw. The youth ranks are getting better. It will come, but where’s your commitment Klinsy? Using hired guns (of marginal caliber, save Johnson) is no way to declare you’ve raised the level of American play. It’s not true. Your colors were clear when you dropped Donovan …

    Like

  • Joamiq

    SBI always seems to completely miss the point on these stories. Klinsmann right to say US players should play in Europe instead of MLS. Klinsmann right to send Fabian Johnson home. The issue is not whether or not it’s right or wrong to do these things. It’s whether it’s right or wrong to discuss it IN THE MEDIA. These are things that should be handled in house. Airing these things in the press is exactly how a coach loses his team. Klinsmann could have easily handled this in the locker room and still sent a message to his players. Doing it in the media feels like yet another ego driven move from Klinsmann.

    Furthermore, while I think there’s a good argument that Klinsmann was right to send Johnson home, it’s certainly not for the main reason Franco points to in this piece. It’s not about whether or not Johnson played on the weekend, which Franco treats as some sort of BOOM GOTCHA moment, which suggests that he’s been fooled by Klinsmann’s PR games. Johnson may well have been one more sprint away from blowing his hamstring in the game (something athletes are actually pretty tuned into), but fine after a few days of rest. That’s not the issue. The real issue is what Franco mentions in passing regarding what Johnson’s teammates thought. That’s what matters. I’d like to hear more about that, but I’m more likely to hear it from journalists like Grant Wahl who broke that angle thanks to actually having sources close to the team.

    Like

  • JayTe

    It just shows how daft the writer, Franco Panizo is. If someone is injured, 72 hours cannot make a difference between them being able to play and not being able to play?!? It just shows how many individuals who write about sports know little to nothing about what they are purportedly writing about!

    Like

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